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WHAT'S HAPPENING: Week of 06.23.16

A fire led to damage at JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe, and construction on the Coon Key Bridge is temporarily on hold.

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  • | 5:58 a.m. June 23, 2016
JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe owner J.R. Garraus surveys the damage to the rear of his restaurant following a six-alarm fire.
JR's Old Packinghouse Cafe owner J.R. Garraus surveys the damage to the rear of his restaurant following a six-alarm fire.
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Fire engulfs Packinghouse Road buildings

Roughly 80 firefighters worked to fight to a six-alarm fire at a warehouse southeast of Cattlemen Road and Palmer Boulevard Friday morning.

Just before 5 a.m., the Sarasota County Fire Department responded to a call about a structure fire behind JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe, according to social media posts by the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office. Emergency personnel did not report any injuries.

Portions of Palmer Boulevard and Packinghouse Road remained closed through the evening.

The fire was mainly contained to the Old Packinghouse warehouse, which contains some businesses and leftover relics from its use when the Celery Fields was an active agricultural area, according to Fire Chief Mike Regnier. JR’s Old Packinghouse Cafe is still intact, but the building took some damage from the blaze.

Coon Key Bridge temporarily reopens

Drivers traveling from mainland Sarasota to the barrier islands via the John Ringling Causeway are getting a welcome respite from construction, as the Florida Department of Transportation suspended work on the Coon Key Bridge this week.

Starting this week FDOT opened both lanes of the westbound Coon Key Bridge in the midst of an ongoing construction effort. Work on the bridge is scheduled to resume Tuesday, July 5.

The break in construction is being timed to accommodate the Fourth of July holiday and the Sarasota Powerboat Grand Prix Festival, which is taking place June 25 through July 4.

“We were hoping when we first started we would be at this position, where we could open it up during the regatta and then, immediately after the Fourth of July, close it and start on the other side of the (westbound) bridge,” FDOT spokesman Robin Stublen said.

The entirety of the Coon Key Bridge construction, which began in April, is scheduled for completion in mid-August.

Quote of the week

“If this chapel is completed this way, I believe it will be the finest religious structure in the state of Florida.” — Church of the Redeemer parishioner Andy Dorr, on the church’s plans for growth.

By the numbers

$2.5 million — Money allocated for improvements at Arlington Park during the next two years. 

900 — Number of garbage bags Siesta Key residents will make available in hopes of combatting litter on the beach during the Fourth of July. 

$300,000 — Preliminary budget for the city’s plans to replace the American course greens at Bobby Jones Golf Club.

200 feet — Length of a portion of Beach Road that has sparked a legal dispute between a Siesta Key resident and Sarasota County.


City Commission budget workshops — 5 p.m. Monday, June 27 through Wednesday, June 29, Commission Chambers, City Hall, 1565 First St., Sarasota.


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